Sadler Series Seminar
Refugees, Austerity and Class Racism
Speaker: Dr Gholam Khiabany
Date: 30th November 2016 Location-Leeds Humanities Research Institute
In recent times sections of British press and political establishment have described refugees with reference to ‘toxic waste, human flotsam, an unstoppable flood and a terrorist threat’. Refugees are invariably accused of “seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it’s got a growing economy, it’s an incredible place to live” (David Cameron); as well as posing a threat to the EU’s standard of living and social structure (Phillip Hammond). During the EU Referendum the dominant media narrative revolved around a nation under siege by large number of illegal and legal immigrants who receive preferential treatment, strain social services, are the cause of unemployment and poverty, and threaten the very fabric of society. Examining some of the examples in which the economic crisis are blamed on migrations and ‘marauding’ refugees, it will be shown that the official response to and coverage of the refugee crisis attempts to a) advance the discourse of austerity as immigration reform; b) use the perceive threats of refugees from developing countries to introduce measures and policies (structural adjustment) that have been imposed on developing nations through IMF and World Bank; c) redefine anti-immigration in a post-racist disguise by introducing anti-immigration and militarisation of borders as austerity policy; d) displace the markers of ‘insecurity’ from the 99% as a whole on to ‘foreigners’ and refugees. It is through this narrative of anti-immigration justified on the basis of austerity that nationalism which is articulated in opposition to class struggle becomes the vehicle through which the concern of ‘native workers’ are articulated.
Gholam Khiabany teaches in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Iranian Media: The Paradox of Modernity and co-author of Blogistan, with Annabelle Sreberny. He is an editor of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, and is a member of council of management of the Institute of Race Relations.
For more information visit:
Reading Together For Refugee Week
Friday 24th June 2016
1 – 4.30pm
3rd Floor, Leeds Central Library
A workshop designed to give a taste of the inspirational support that reading groups can offer for refugees and asylum seekers, cementing a sense of community and helping to overcome alienation and isolation.
Free Event. All welcome, especially refugees, asylum seekers and those who support them.
Includes free lunch and refreshments.
Opportunity to join one of our reading groups, currently running in Central Leeds, Harehills, Little London and Armley.
Booking Required https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/leedslibraryevents,
PLEASE DOWNLOAD AND SHARE THE FLYER BELOW:
Reading Together for Refugee Week flyer
Parasites and Beasts of Burden: Rethinking the Politics of Migration
Launch Event: Thursday June 9th 4.00-5.30pm, followed by drinks reception
Leeds University Business School, Maurice Keyworth Lecture Theatre
Speaker: Professor Bridget Anderson, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford
Title: Parasites and Beasts of Burden: Rethinking the Politics of Migration
Abstract: The situation at the borders of Europe has seen those seeking to enter depicted either as slaves or as animals while Europeans are increasingly described as ‘natives’. That is, while historically the ‘native’ was often imagined as a sub-species of human being directly in contrast with the European, being native has more recently become associated with a claim to rights to belong in contrast to the non-European ‘space invaders’. This paper will discuss the distinction between the (modern day) slave, the (contemporary) native and the animal, beginning from the observation that the kinds of animals that ‘migrants’ are likened to – cockroaches, rats, parasites etc – are not livestock, that is, they are not productive. In this they are unlike ‘beasts of burden’ and livestock that slaves were compared to in the past. Furthermore, not only do these animals lack the capacity to reason, but they lack the capacity to feel and to elicit feeling. I will consider what this reveals about the contemporary politics of immigration in Europe and the survivalist responses to threats to lifestyles.
Bio: Bridget Anderson is Professor of Migration and Citizenship and Research Director at COMPAS. She has a DPhil in Sociology and previous training in Philosophy and Modern Languages. She is the author of Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Controls (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Doing the Dirty Work? The Global Politics of Domestic Labour (Zed Books, 2000). She co-edited Who Needs Migrant Workers? Labour Shortages, Immigration and Public Policywith Martin Ruhs (Oxford University Press, 2010 and 2012) The Social, Political and Historical Contours of Deportation with Matthew Gibney and Emanuela Paoletti (Springer, 2013), and Migration and Care Labour: Theory, Policy and Politics with Isabel Shutes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
Bridget has explored the tension between labour market flexibilities and citizenship rights, and pioneered an understanding of the functions of immigration in key labour market sectors. Her interest in labour demand has meant an engagement with debates about trafficking and modern day slavery, which in turn led to an interest in state enforcement and deportation, and in the ways immigration controls increasingly impact on citizens as well as on migrants. Bridget has worked closely with migrants’ organisations, trades unions and legal practitioners at local, national and international level.